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Lenin's Death

Modern History (Year 12) - Stalin and Trotsky's Struggle

Ben Whitten

Lenin’s Declining Health and Testaments

In 1921, Lenin began to suffer from the side effects of a failed assassination attempt and consequently, reduced his involvement in the government. On the 25th of May, 1922, Lenin experienced a second stroke and a third stroke shortly after the second. It was at this time that Lenin provided his testament;

Lenin acknowledged that Trotsky was a talented individual, however, stated that he could be arrogant and failed to create any effective professional working relationships with leaders of the Communist party. Lenin criticised Kamenev and Zinoviev for not supporting the proposed takeover of power in October 1917 from the beginning. Lenin finally stated that Stalin should be removed from the top branches of the Communist party.

On the 10th of March, 1923, Lenin would no longer be an active member of government due to his speech being impaired. On the 21st of January, 1924, Vladimir Lenin died.

Lenin’s Relationship with Stalin: The End

Lenin feared that Stalin would continue to abuse his power in later years as he had been, by intimidating and bullying Communists in Georgia. Lenin provided his testament regarding Stalin, essentially stating that he had become too powerful of an individual and he should not be trusted.

“Comrade Stalin, having become General Secretary, has immeasurable power concentrated in his hands, and I am not sure that he always know how to use that power with significant caution. Comrade Trotsky, on the other hand, is distinguished not only by his outstanding ability. He [Trotsky] is personally perhaps the most capable man in the present Central Committee, but he has displayed excessive self-assurance.”

“Stalin is too rude and this fault becomes unacceptable in the office of General Secretary. I propose a way be found to remove Stalin from that post and replace him with someone else who differs from Stalin in all respects, someone more patient, more loyal and more considerable.”

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